|Plan du Fort de Kell avec ses Environs |
jusqu'à Strasbourg ou est marqué l'Attaque
de ce Fort par les François en 1733
(Bibliothèque nationale de France, link)
The first action of the War of Polish Succession in Germany was a siege & taking of Kehl by French troops under Marshal Berwick. Imperial garrison under general Phull composed of 1,200 Schwabian infantry & 250 Austrians. French army of Germany under Berwick was of 44 battalions & 71 squadrons.
On 12 October, French troops came to Rhine near Strassbourg. The same day they built a ship bridge near Auenheim in 2,5 km below Kehl. The crossing was completed on 14 October. General Phull, when the French began their movements, destroyed the bridge between Kehl and Strasbourg, and also destroyed those houses and other buildings outside the fortress that might provide the attacking French any sort of shelter.
French established a circumvallation line around Kehl:
Right flank (from Auenheim to Neumulh):
Infantry: Piémont, 3; Lyonnais, 2; Angoumois, 1; Luxembourg, 1; la Marine, 3; Rouergue, 1; Brie, 2; Bourbonnais, 2; Alsace, 2; Beauce, 1; Soissonnais, 1; Bavière, 1; Toulouse, 2; Tallard, 2 = 24 bataillons.
Cavalry was divided into two parts, one near Rhine (17 sqns) & the other at Neumuhl (13 sqns):
- Colonel-Général, 3; Turenne, 3; Lorraine, 3; Ruffec, 2; la Reine, 3; Saint-Simon, 3 = 17 escadrons.
- Conty, 3 ; Lenoncourt, 2 ; Gesvres, 3 ; Vaudrey, 2; Royal-Rousslllon, 3 = 13 escadrons.
Center (from Kinzig to Schotter)
Infantry: D'Estaing, 2; Montmorency, 1; Touraine, 2; Conty, 1; Gensac, 1 ; Saxe, 1; Richelieu, 2 = 10 bataillons.
Left flank (from Sundheim to Spitalhof)
Infantry: Dillon, 1; Clare, 1; Boccard, 1; Roolb, 1; Berwick, 1; Royal-la-Marine, 1; Royal, 2 = 8 bataillons.
Dragoons: Orléans, 4; Vitry, 4; Colonel-Général, 4 = 12 escadrons.
2 escadrons de hussards Berchiny
Infantry at the Rhine (at the top left flank): Artois, 1 ; Navarre, 3 = 4 bataillons.
Cavalry of the reserve: Gendarmes, 8; Fitz-James, 3; Royal-Allemand, 3; Cayeux, 3; Lévis, 2; Royal, 3; Beaucaire, 3; d'Aumont, 2 = 27 escadrons.
Every day some troops were detached from the circumvallation line to siege works against Kehl. They started on 17 October. That day French began construction of batteries on the island between Kehl and Strasbourg. On 18 October Phull issued detailed instructions to his commanders concerning the tactics of defense and retreat. The hornwork was to be held until it was either breached or its artillery rendered useless, at which point the defenders were to fall back first to the covered way between the hornwork and the main fortress, and then to the fortress proper.
The French began digging siege trenches on right bank of Rhine on the night of 19 October. That night it was a detachment under General-Lieutenant Marquis de Peysegur (Navarre, 3 batts; La Marine, 2 coys of grenadiers; Richelieu, 2 coys of grenadiers; Bourbonnais, one coy of grenadiers; 100 dismounted Gendarmes & 450 Dragoons). Next day it was a detachment under General-Lieutenant Duke de Noailles (Piemont, 3 batts; 6 coys of grenadiers from Bourbonnais, Tallard, Royal & Pons; 100 dismounted Gendarmes & dragoons). On 21 was sent a detachment under General-Lieutenant Tingry (Royal, Lyonnais, Touraine & Artois).
On 23 October the French opened fire not only on the hornwork, but also began battering the walls of the main fortress with cannon fire. After two failed assaults by Berwick's grenadiers, they succeeded in briefly occupying the hornwork; it was reoccupied by the garrison the next day. The defenders attempted a sortie against the French positions near the hornwork, but it was repulsed. By 27 October, the French had established numerous batteries and were mercilessly battering the main fortification. About 4 pm on 28 October, the French barrage started a fire on the hornwork that was severe enough that its commander requested permission from Phull to withdraw; this permission was granted. Phull then held a council, in which it was determined that only 500 men were combat-ready, and that the fortress might hold out at most three more days. Consequently Phull raised the white flag around 8 pm on 28 October.
The garrison marched out of the fortress on 31 October with the full honors of war, and was escorted to the imperial defense line at Ettlingen.
French put a garrison of 3,000 (Gensac & Rouergue regiments) under La Fitte in Kehl. The rest of troops returned on the left bank of Rhine on winter-quarters.
Feldzuge des Prinzen Eugen. B. 19. S. 46-51.
Pajol. Les guerres sous Louis XV. T. 1. S. 185-187.